Sparkling wine…the next big thing in China?
Over the last few years, sparkling wine (and to a much lesser degree Champagne) has become the big thing in wine, and I predict that 2015 will see this trend continue to grow, at a potentially faster rate, as China gets in on the act.
First, to bore you with the stats... According to figures just released by the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV), sparkling wine production increased by 40% in the last decade (still wine grew 7%).
In 2002, sparkling wine production accounted for 4% of global wine, in 2013 it had risen to 7%. Exports have risen by 80% in that period, dominated by France, Italy, Germany and Spain. Meanwhile, Australia and the US have increased production by 29% and 25% respectively, while Argentina saw a 198% increase in production over the decade!
As it is being made, we are drinking it. Consumption is up 30% over the decade, compared with a 4% overall increase in wine consumption.
So what’s causing this bubble (ha ha, I know)?
Fizzy booze is no longer just for celebrations and festivities, and we are going out less. We’re going to our friends’ for dinner as we all grapple with dipping economic graphs.
Now, you could take some expensive wines over, which will be ‘appreciated’ if you point out the fact that you paid ‘X’ much for it and every sip should be lauded. Or, you could take around a few bottles of generic label wine (boring). Or you could take round a few bottles of medium range Prosecco and suddenly you have a lovely, lifted party mood with a very small outlay.
You don’t have to get the cheapest fizz, and I wouldn’t recommend many of the budget wines which bathe your mouth in an acid bath, but something with enough character to lift it above the pack. Prosecco, like Zucchetto’s excellent vintage rendition (as sold through Cadman Fine Wines, of course!) is proving particularly en vogue and offers a great value alternative to Champagne.
China’s Next Fine Wine Chapter
And, now, China is poised on the scene. One might logically assume it’s due to a re-instatement of the previous government entertainment budget (one of the biggest reasons for their wine market plummet earlier this year) but, no, in fact, it’s due to a film.
You may be a fan of the cult US film Sideways, about a pair of misfits on a stag trip in the Napa Valley. If you are I applaud you. The film helped boost sales of Californian Pinot Noir – being the main character’s favourite tipple –played by the brilliant Paul Giamatti.
Well, the Chinese now have Tiny Times, which is a an everyday story about a group of girls, beginning at university and following them as they try and make their way in the metropolis of Shanghai.
The thing about Tiny Times is that it features plenty of wine drinking, and much of the wine the characters drink is sparkling. This seems to have struck more than a chord with the growing number of young and aspiring Chinese professionals who identify with the down-to-earth characters as they navigate ambition, values and stresses of modern Chinese city living.
And so begins a new wine trend; and one that I shall follow with interest in 2015.